skip to main content
Find Insight DIY on
* * *

Economic Data

Welcome to the ‘Economic Data’ section of Insight DIY, which includes a summary of all of the key UK economic indicators that you may need to know within your business. Each of these key indicators are updated as and when they are released by their various sources and provide a really valuable addition to any monthly report or business overview.

UK Consumer Price Index (CPI)

CPIH image

Main points:

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.2% in September 2018, down from 2.4% in August 2018.
  • The largest downward contribution came from food and non-alcoholic beverages where prices fell between August and September 2018 but rose between the same two months a year ago.
  • Other large downward contributions came from transport, recreation and culture, and clothing.
  • Partially offsetting upward contributions came from increases to electricity and gas prices.
  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.4% in September 2018, down from 2.7% in August 2018. 

Release Date: 17th October 2018
Next Release: 14th November 2018

Price indices, percentage changes and weights for the different measures of consumer price inflation. 

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Producer Price Inflation (PPI)

Producer Price Index

Main points:  


  • The headline rate of output inflation for goods leaving the factory gate was 3.1% on the year to September 2018, up from 2.9% in August 2018.
  • The growth rate of prices for materials and fuels used in the manufacturing process rose to 10.3% on the year to September 2018, up from 9.4% in August 2018.
  • All product groups provided upward contributions to output and input annual inflation.

  • Annual inflation remained positive for both input and output indices for the 27th consecutive month; this is the longest period where both indices have displayed positive growth since May 2012.

Release Date: 17th October 2018
Next Release: 14th November 2018

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Labour Market

Unemployment office

Unemployment rate: 4.0% (June to August 2018) 

Main points for June to August 2018:

  • Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between March to May 2018 and June to August 2018, the number of people in work was little changed, the number of unemployed people decreased but the number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) increased.

  • There were 32.39 million people in work, little changed compared with March to May 2018 but 289,000 more than for a year earlier.

  • The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were in work) was 75.5%, lower than for March to May 2018 (75.7%) but higher than for a year earlier (75.1%).

  • There were 1.36 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 47,000 fewer than for March to May 2018 and 79,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

  • The unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a proportion of all employed and unemployed people) was 4.0%; it has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975.

  • There were 8.75 million people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 103,000 more than for March to May 2018 but 65,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

  • The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive) was 21.2%, higher than for March to May 2018 (21.0%) but lower than for year earlier (21.4%).

  • Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 3.1% excluding bonuses, and by 2.7% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.

  • Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation) increased by 0.7% excluding bonuses, and by 0.4% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.

Period covered: June to August 2018

Publication date: 16th October 2018
Next publication date: 13th November 2018

The level and rate of UK unemployment measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) using a definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organisation. Unemployed people as those without a job who have been actively seeking work in the past 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks. It also includes those who are out of work but have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next 2 weeks.

Source: Office for National Statistics

BRC - KPMG Retail Sales Monitor

Retail Sales image

Covering the five weeks 26 August – 29 September 2018

- In September, UK retail sales decreased by 0.2% on a like-for-like basis from September 2017, when they had increased 1.9% from the preceding year.

- On a total basis, sales increased 0.7% in September, against an increase of 2.3% in September 2017. This is the lowest since October, excluding Easter distortions, and below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.2% and 1.3% respectively.

- Over the three months to September, In-store sales of Non-Food items declined 2.7% on a Total basis and 4.0% on a Like-for-like basis. This is in line with the 12-month Total average decline of 2.7%.

- Over the three months to September, Food sales increased 2.3% on a like-for-like basis and 3.4% on a total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 3.7%.

- Over the three-months to September, Non-Food retail sales in the UK decreased 1.6% on a like-for-like basis and 0.6% on a Total basis. This is in line with the 12-month Total average decrease of 0.5%. September Non Food sales remained in decline.

- Online sales of Non-Food products grew 5.4% in September, against a growth of 10.7% in September 2017, the second-best growth of 2017. This is the lowest growth since January and below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 6.7% and 7.1% respectively. Online penetration rate increased from 22.7% to 24.2% in September 2018. 

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail | KPMG

“Like-for-like retail sales in September were down 0.2 per cent on this time last year, but then last year consumers were remaining more defiant in the face of Brexit and shopping regardless.

“Grocery continued to perform, but growth in the category retreated in September. The non-food categories however, continued to disappoint. The historically reliable back-to-school push did not elevate apparel sales. Instead the latest tech launches were a rare source for optimism.

“Online retail continued to fare better. Even clothing sales managed to grab the attention of those browsing the web to refresh their wardrobe.

“The final golden quarter of the year marks the ultimate test for many players, but retailers must also successfully navigate: the upcoming government Budget, Black Friday, Christmas, and of course Brexit.”

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive | British Retail Consortium

"These figures lay bare the difficult operating environment for the retail industry. After a challenging August, constrained consumer spending in September has resulted in the weakest sales growth for five months.

"Retail represents 5 per cent of the economy and pays almost 25 per cent of the business rates bill and this disproportionate cost burden is especially hard to bear given the current trend in sales. The effect can be seen in the fact that there have been 3,200 UK store closures in the past three years.

"The Government has said it wants to "back business" and retailers are waiting to see if this is just talk or if there will be meaningful action - like a freeze in business rates in the Budget." 

Food & Drink sector performance | Jon Woolven, Strategy and Innovation Director | IGD

“The September food and grocery figures cemented the trend in late August for volumes to fall versus 2017, although with some inflation in the mix, sales value remained modestly in growth.

“Shopper confidence has followed a downward path with those expecting to be financially better off over the year ahead dipping from 26 per cent in July to 22 per cent in September. Brexit related uncertainty probably plays a part in this, so retailers will be hoping for a clear resolution ahead of the Christmas shopping season.”

Release Date: 10th October 2018
Next Release Date: 9th November 2018

Source: KPMG Monitor

Nationwide House Price Index

House Prices

September Monthly Index*: 427.9  (August: 426.9)
Monthly Change*: +0.3% (August -0.5%)
Annual Change: 2.0% (August: 2.0%)
September Average Price: £214,922 (not seasonally adjusted) (August £214,745)

* Seasonally adjusted figure (note that monthly % changes are revised when seasonal adjustment factors are re-estimated)

Key Findings
• UK annual house price growth steady at 2%
• Prices up 0.3% during the month, after taking account of seasonal factors
• North was the weakest performing region in Q3, with prices down 1.7% year on year

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: 

“Annual house price growth was stable in September at 2%.

“Indeed, annual house price growth has been confined to a fairly narrow range of c2-3% over the past 12 months, suggesting little change in the balance between demand and
supply in the market. 

“Looking further ahead, much will depend on how broader economic conditions evolve, especially in the labour market, but also with respect to interest rates.

“Subdued economic activity and ongoing pressure on household budgets is likely to continue to exert a modest drag on housing market activity and house price growth this
year, though borrowing costs are likely to remain low.

“Overall, we continue to expect house prices to rise by around 1% over the course of 2018

Release Date: October 2018
Next Release Date: November 2018

Nationwide are the world's largest building society and one of the UK's largest mortgage providers. They have the longest unbroken run of house price data, stretching back to 1952 on a quarterly basis and 1991 on a monthly basis. Here you can access their monthly and quarterly house price reports, special features and download data series. 

Source: Nationwide House Price Index

UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (Markit and CIPS)

Markit logo

Index: 52.1 - September 2018
Previous month: 52.9 - August 2018

Key findings:

  • All three sub-sectors record a loss of momentum since August
  • Solid increases in new work and employment
  • Business optimism at second-lowest level since February 2013

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Construction Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) is a diffusion index incorporating survey results provided by construction firms throughout the country. A reading above fifty suggests the construction sector is expanding, while a reading below fifty suggests the construction sector is in contraction. Policymakers and traders watch these surveys closely as purchasing managers usually have early access to data about their company’s performance, rather than waiting for the hard data to emerge.

Publication date: 2nd October 2018
Next publication date: 2nd November 2018

Markit Economics

GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer

Consumer Confidence Index

Monthly Index: -9
Previous Month's Index: -7
Monthly Index Previous Year: -9
Period: September 2018

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, says: 

“There are fewer than 200 days until Brexit arrangements in some shape or fashion take effect. The clock is ticking down and in September the consumer mood dropped a couple of notches. When respondents talk about their personal finances, the scores are still positive. But for the general economy, they can only reflect on the obvious uncertainty surrounding Brexit. That poor view of the wider economy is keeping the headline score negative – the last positive headline was the +4 in January 2016. The danger is that consumers might capitulate on how they feel about their personal finances. If that happens, we’ll see very sharp drops indeed in the Overall Index Score in the months up to March 2019. Will the coming six months see the consumer mood turn significantly more fragile? Or do consumers think Brexit will ultimately be positive?” 

Release Date: 28th September 2018
Next Release Date: 31st October 2018

Source: GfK

NHBC - New Build Statistics/New Registrations

NHBC flag

Total Registrations (Rolling Qtr June to August 2018): 42,547 
Total Registrations (Rolling Q1 June to August 2017): 38,296
Percentage Change: +11%.

Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr June to August 2018): 30,738
Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Q1 June to August 2017): 28,660
Percentage Change: +7%

Public and Affordable Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr June to August 2018: 11,809
Public and Affordable Sector Registrations (Rolling Q1 June to August 2017): 9,636
Percentage Change: +23%

Commenting on the August figures, NHBC Chief Executive Steve Wood said: "We continue to see strong numbers in many parts of the UK with a substantial uplift in London, driven by increased activity by housing associations and the continued flow of inward investment on for-sale and private rental developments.

"The continuing uncertainties around Brexit and the UK’s economic outlook do not seem sufficient to dent confidence in the new homes market, where NHBC’s focus remains on helping developers to build more, high-quality homes for people across the country."

Release Date: 28th September 2018
Next Release: 31st October 2018

Source: NHBC

UK Retail Sales

Retail Sales

Main points:

  • In August 2018, the quantity bought increased by 0.3% when compared with the previous month, with increases across all sectors except food, clothing and petrol.
  • The month-on-month growth rate in the quantity bought in food stores at negative 0.6% and clothing stores at negative 1.9% was offset by strong growth in other non-food stores at 2.8% and household goods stores at 4.5%.
  • In the three months to August, the quantity bought increased by 2% when compared with the previous three months, with continued growth across all sectors.
  • The last three months of summer from June to August 2018 saw an increase in the quantity bought at 3.4%, with food and household goods stores doing well in the warm weather when compared with the previous summer, while non-store retailing continued to show strong growth.
  • Spending online continued to increase to reach a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2%; with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record proportion at 18.4%.

Period: August 2018

Released: 20th September 2018
Next Release Date: 18th October 2018

This bulletin presents estimates of the quantity bought (volume) and amount spent (value) in the retail industry for the four-week period 29 July 2018 to 25 August 2018.

Unless otherwise stated, the estimates in this release are seasonally adjusted.

Source: Office for National Statistics


Bank of England: Bank Rate

Current bank rate: 0.75%
Previous bank rate: 0.5%

Release date: 2nd August 2018
Next release date: 1st November 2018

Source : Bank of England



UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Gross Domestic Product

Main points

  • UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.4% between Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2018 and Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2018.

  • The services industries and construction increased in Quarter 2 2018, by 0.5% and 0.9% respectively; while production decreased by 0.8%.

  • Household spending grew by 0.3% and business investment increased by 0.5% between Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 2018.

  • The trade deficit widened by £4.7 billion in Quarter 2 2018 (in current price terms), with net trade dragging on GDP growth as a result.

  • Growth in compensation of employees slowed in Quarter 2 2018 to 0.6%, but continued to contribute positively to GDP growth.

Release Date: 10th August 2018
Next Release Date: 10th October 2018

Preliminary, second and final estimates of GDP released over a quarter as more data becomes available. The final estimate is published in the Quarterly National Accounts. GDP is the main measure of UK economic growth based on the value of goods and services produced during a given period.

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Population Figures

UK Census

UK population: 66,040,229 (30th June 2017 estimate)
UK population: 65,648,100 (mid 2016 estimates)
Percentage change: +0.6%

2016 Data:

Male: 32.4 million (49.3%)
Female: 33.0 million (50.7%)

Estimated population of England: 55,268,100 (84.2% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Scotland: 5,404,700 (8.2% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Wales: 3,113,200 (4.7% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Northern Ireland: 1,862,100 (2.8% of the UK’s population)

Mid-year population estimates relate to the usually resident population. They account for long-term international migrants (people who change their country of usual residence for a period of 12 months or more) but do not account for short-term migrants (people who come to or leave the country for a period of less than 12 months). This approach is consistent with the standard UN definition for population estimates which is based upon the concept of usual residence and includes people who reside, or intend to reside, in the country for at least twelve months, whatever their nationality.

Data last updated: 28th June 2018

Next Update: June 2019

Source: ONS


I find the news and articles they publish really useful and enjoy reading their views and commentary on the industry. It's the only source of quality, reliable information on our major customers and it's used regularly by myself and my team.

Simon Fleet - Sales & Marketing Director, Thomas Dudley Ltd

Don't miss out on all the latest, breaking news from the DIY industry